Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with FlyQuest’s Galen “Moon” Holgate after the semifinals of the North American League of Legends Championship Series to talk about his season and why he thinks TSM will win the finals.
Andrew Kim: It has to be a little disappointing coming off of a 3-0 defeat for the decider for the finals. Were there any issues with the team leading up to the match against TSM or was it just the better team that won?
Galen “Moon” Holgate: I don’t think there were any issues leading up to the match in terms of practice or how we played as a team or anything, TSM is just way too good. I think TSM should win the finals. Obviously, that’s no excuse or anything. I just think they out-performed us today. I got way too hype-y.
AK: On the topic, there was a moment when you died and the camera focused on you laughing and stuff like. Tell me more about that, what was going through your mind?
GH: Because we were super far ahead, I was destroying Svenskeren (Dennis Johnsen) in a pretty bad matchup for me, and I was super strong, I was “I’m going to try and do this guys! I’m going to kill Lucian, guys!” That’s going to haunt me forever. Forever.
AK: You’re still going to Vancouver to face Phoenix1 for third place. The pressure is still on you guys for sure, so how are you guys going to prepare?
GH: Both us and P1 got 3-0’d, so we’re both going in with similar position. I do think we are the better team, so I think we’ll take it, but the third-fourth match is kind of depressing to play. I’m excited to go to Vancouver and I’m excited to play with a big crowd. I think that’ll be good for me.
AK: You did mention that before. It must be really satisfying for you personally, being in front of a crowd.
GH: I like to put myself in uncomfortable situations and try to become more comfortable to become a more well-rounded player.
AK: It’s kind of difficult what happened in the match because you said it was more the better team came out on top, like you said. It’s interesting to see because a lot of people held out for you guys thinking that you could win. Is that something you feel or think about before going into a match, with the expectations so much higher than before?
GH: A lot of people consider us to be a wild card team. We can beat anyone and we can lose to anybody. I think of most of the teams, this sounds weird saying now that we lost 3-0, but of all the teams I think we really had a good chance to beat TSM. Just because we could have shown up on that day. That’s how we are as a team. We fight, and if we’re winning the fights, if we’re on that day, then we can beat any team. But today we were not on.
AK: Looking at your career, you started out with NRG, and now you’re in FlyQuest, one of the top four teams of the region. How would you describe your career?
GH: I think when I started off, I didn’t really know why I was so bad when I started in NRG. I think throughout my career, everybody that I worked with has said, “oh yeah Galen, he has a lot of potential,” or “he’s good in practice,” and stuff like that. But I guess I had nerve issues. Throughout each team I got a little bit less nervous and I think just in general going from team to team and growing up as a person, I gained a lot more confidence, and that’s what stopped my nerve problems. I think I’m really confident now, and going into matches I think I can honestly beat any jungler, I can beat every single team as a team. I just want people to respect me, and I think people do respect me right now, but it’s kind of like, if I have bad games or if we start falling as a team, I don’t think I’m respected enough for people to not drop the respect — if that makes sense. Right now, I’m respected, but it’s not solid yet.
AK: You mean like when TSM loses, you don’t see people saying Bjergsen is terrible…
GH: Exactly. I want to be on that level. I want to be known as a solid player who’s always going to be good and who’s always going to show up when it’s important.
AK: Compared to a lot of players who don’t come forward when it comes to speaking with the press, you’ve been very up front and saying yes to every single interview request. Why do you say yes to every interview?
GH: Doing interviews for me is really relaxing. I just like interacting with people. I think it’s really important to build your brand for me personally. I compare myself to a lot of people, especially junglers like, oh Akaadian (Matthew Higginbotham) has this many followers and I only have this many. Starting this split, I decided I was going to do every interview possible. I’m going to reach out to Riot, reach out to different people and trying to get my name out more, trying to just become well known as a person, and this is the best way, I think.
AK: In the LCK, KT beat Samsung 3-0. Now that KT and SKT will be in the finals, who do you think is going to win out?
GH: I don’t know. I think SKT will probably win, that’s just the generic answer. I honestly haven’t been following LCK as hard as probably a lot of other players. I really prefer to watch the (other) regions like LPL, I like to watch LMS, stuff like that. LCK is way too good to watch, if that makes sense. If I try to copy them I feel like I play really bad because LCK is so calculated and everything like that. People make a lot less mistakes compared to other regions, and I think NA is not even close to the skill level of LCK.
AK: On that topic, do you think if the entire team steps up to the LCK’s level, maybe then you could copy what’s going on in the LCK?
GH: Yeah. I do still watch LCK. I did see the Samsung vs. KT matchup, but I feel like I don’t learn as much and I’m not as invested into that region as Europe or LPL maybe right now. Also there’s been very few games because the regions are in playoffs.
AK: You’re wrapping up the spring split and you guys did really well. What are some things you’re looking forward to in the summer split?
GH: I hope we don’t go 1-8 or whatever we did in the second half of the split. I really want to go to worlds. That would be the best experience ever. It’ll be hard to go to world next split, there’s going to be a lot of good teams. I think we can do it though, and if we did, I think it would be the best experience ever for me as a player. I want to go out and I want to be known as a good jungler on the world stage.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/illustration by Slingshot